I’m a loser baby

I serve on a regional board of CIOs/CTOs and we had our annual meeting yesterday and today. It was time for us to set our strategic theme for the next five years.

The candidates were:

  • academic technology
  • network security
  • information economics, law, and policy
  • IT leadership

I was on the team that proposed the academic technology theme and we were the big losers when it came time to vote. The winner was info. economics, law, ad policy. 1st runner up was network security (though I noted that I didn’t see this a particularly strategic and that if it were strategic that it would fall under the law and policy category). IT leadership came in third. I have chosen not to feel humiliated that my proposal came in last; to be fair, when I voted myself, I put me in 3rd place.

6 Responses to “I’m a loser baby”

  1. Laura said:

    Dec 10, 08 at 8:39 am

    I’m not surprised and it’s been a frustration of mine for a long time as a former instructional technologist. I was often the sole voice advocating for the needs of the faculty. Often, people would agree in theory that IT should do more to support the academic mission of colleges and universities, but then they’d never put their money where their mouth is. Realistically, the threat of being sued trumps academics every time.

  2. admin said:

    Dec 10, 08 at 5:38 pm

    Exactly. I made an impassioned plea noting that academic technology is too often the first area to get a budget cut while, given the trend toward managed services, it’s clearly rising to be the last and only outpost for IT strategy and innovation in higher education. And I noted that it’s the only area in IT that addresses directly our mission. But it’s the trend to managed services that’s driving the need for clearer policy, economic, and legal understanding. So, I’m hoping that the heyday for academic technology is coming and that when we set our next strategic agenda it will be Very Clear just how important this is. I just hope we won’t be too late.

  3. Kyle said:

    Dec 10, 08 at 7:02 pm

    I had a much longer eloquent response planned, but I’m grumpy and tired, so here goes.

    Of that list, the only thing that is really a core business of Higher Education is academic technology. Everything else is crap we have to do to support “the enterprise.” I’m not saying the other stuff isn’t important, it just isn’t strategic.

    As I’ve started to look at what stuff we should do with limited resources and what stuff we should outsource, the only thing I know for sure we should do and excel at is academic technology (in our case learning technology mostly, as we aren’t a research institution). ERP, storage, database management, network support, security, and even administrative desktop support is all stuff someone else can likely do more effectively than I can.

    The only thing I think might be strategic beyond academic technology is identity management. And mostly that’s because the kind of information we want to tack to identity as well as the way we want to federate authentication is *very* different than corporate.

  4. admin said:

    Dec 11, 08 at 7:06 pm

    Kyle, I agree with you but would add one more thing to academic technology and identity management: assessment (credentialing).

  5. Kyle said:

    Dec 11, 08 at 8:34 pm

    I agree that assessment is strategic (and important), but is assessment really an IT function? It certainly needs IT to succeed, but I think of that as a different area. Academic technology and ID management are pretty firmly IT lead functions.

  6. admin said:

    Dec 12, 08 at 5:54 pm

    Yes, I think you’re right–only that systems which support assessment (or which do assessment in some way) are within IT’s realm. But not really as a strategic area. Thanks for clarifying.

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